Working with pets, service animals & Companion animals
If your client presents to you with accompanying pet(s), service animal(s) or companion animal(s) your response should be inclusive of their needs and safety. There is substantial evidence to show a link between violence against animals and domestic violence. WSSSA recognises the importance of pets in the lives of clients and strives to offer pet friendly and pet safe services for those with accompanying animals
- Pet abuse often occurs before or at the same time as domestic or family violence
- 50% of Australian women in violent relationships have reported that their partner had hurt or killed one of their pets
- Threats and violence against pets is often used as a form of coercive control
- Many people will delay leaving an abusive relationship because they can’t make arrangements for their pets
- There is a high risk of pets being injured or killed when living in violent households
- Pets are an important part of the family, and they play a significant role in increasing the physical and emotional well-being of their owners
Questions to ask your clients during intake
- Do you have a pet, service animal or companion animal?
- Has anyone you know tried to hurt or threaten your accompanying animal or pet?
- Has anyone in your home ever killed or threatened to kill the animals in your care?
- Do you have a safe place available for your pet or companion animal if you need to leave?
When working with clients with animals, consideration of everyone’s safety is important. WSSSA has resources related to managing safety with pets. Please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in more information.